With the summer firmly upon us, travel and play are calling for a plan of action and what better tool to help with that than the Swiss knife of modern technology – the mobile phone. Here are five free or cheap apps to help you pick the best hotels, eat the best food, see the best shows and generally make the best of your vacation days:
1. Along the Way ($3.99): For those adventure-seeking road-trippers who aren’t afraid to try new things, Along the Way is a great tool that searches for attractions not around your current physical location but along your route, making it easy to find cool spots along the way to your destination. All you have to do is enter the departure point and the arrival point and be ready to take it all in. Available for download in the App Store but not yet on Google Play.
2. Dark Sky ($3.99) If you’re not one to be caught dishevelled even on vacation, Dark Sky is the perfect weather app for you. In fact, its founders dubbed it “your personal weather station” and with its down-to-the minute rain and snow predictions, it’s the perfect weapon against unpleasant surprises. Also, their stunningly beautiful map simulations could double as a lesson in meteorology for the kids – or just keep them entertained in the back seat. Available for download in the iTunes App Store.
3. Eventsions: If you ever find yourself in a cool new city this summer and looking for shows and other cool things to do, look no further: Eventisons is an event finding app that brings local events, concerts, performing arts and much more to your fingertips. You have the option to log into your Facebook account to enrich your experience and recommendations, but it’s not mandatory. Once you find an event that’s of interest, you can add it to your iPhone’s calendar or share it with friends. Available for free download in the App Store only.
4. Nara: If you’re looking for a HotelTonight and a Yelp all rolled into one and spiced up with some next-generation artificial intelligence, try Nara. The app delivers personal recommendations to you by pairing its in-depth knowledge with your tastes. Over half a million North American and European restaurants and hotels live on Nara’s neural network, but Nara makes it easy to start finding the ones you’ll savor by learning your preferences as you thumb places up or down. Nara is available for free download in the App Store and Google Play.
5. SkyScanner is simply the best app for finding affordable flights. Whether it’s a last minute getaway or you’re planning four months ahead, Skyscanner is fast, friendly and available in over 30 languages! Results can be listed by price or arrival and departure date, and booking takes you to the airline or an online travel agent. Available for iPhone, Android, Windows.